Thursday, February 8, 2018

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Condemns Committee Approval of Nielson

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee today voted, on a party-line basis, to advance the nomination of Howard Nielson to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Utah:

“Yet again, the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans are rubber stamping Trump’s extreme judicial nominees. The courts are being remade in his image by the Senate’s advancement of nominees who have very troubling records.

“Mr. Nielson’s record shows that he is not committed to the core American values of justice, fairness, and inclusivity. He has worked throughout his legal career to restrict the rights and freedoms of marginalized communities. He has attempted to justify the use of torture. He tried to have a judge removed from a marriage equality case because the judge is gay. And he was involved with a Justice Department screening committee that was rebuked for its discrimination against job applicants who had worked for progressive public interest organizations. This is not the type of record that demonstrates he will serve as an impartial judge. The full Senate must reject his confirmation.”

Last month, The Leadership Conference sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to Nielson. That letter is available here.

Auraria Safe Zone Allies - Open Training Dates Available

Students, faculty, staff, and community members of the Auraria campus are invited to take Safe Zone Ally Training to:

1. gain education on issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community,

2. understand resources and support on the Auraria campus, and

3. develop skills and networks with other Auraria Safe Zone Allies.

OUT on DVD/VOD: Play The Devil

 

Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the mystical, LGBT drama Play The Devil . Breaking Glass acquired rights to the film in February in a deal negotiated between Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff and Bahamian writer/director Maria Govan (Rain) of Play the Devil Pictures Limited. The film will arrive on DVD & VOD on May 15.


Described as a film that evokes a “powerful sense of place” (The Hollywood Reporter) and explores “complex depictions of male relationships” (Shadow and Act), PLAY THE DEVIL stars Petrice Jones (‘Step Up: High Water’, iBoy, Spotless), and newcomers Gareth Jenkins, Akil Nicholas, and Penelope Spencer.



The film held its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and went on to play numerous other festivals, including Woodstock Film Festival where the film won Best Female Feature Director, Cleveland International Film Festival, MiFo LGBT Film Festival Miami, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, and qFLIX Philadelphia where it took home the Jury Award for Best Feature Film.



Play The Devil follows Gregory, a gifted working-class teenager from Paramin, who stars in a theater play that brings him to the attention of James, an affluent businessman. The two men strike an uncanny friendship as James takes Greg under his wing, pushing him to discover himself professionally, creatively, and intimately. Confused, Greg must at once deal with the return of his drug addicted father, and navigate through the early days of adulthood. As Carnival Monday approaches and the locals prepare for the annual male initiation parade, Greg must confront James – an act which will cumulate in life changing events for him.



“Govan’s stunning and exotic film, set against the lush and mysterious Carnival, tells the classic story of seduction between older and younger, while retaining a firm footing in the strict taboos of Trinidadian culture”, said Richard Ross, Co-President of Breaking Glass. “This assured second feature deftly navigates a culture steeped in repressed sexual desires, anchored by secrets, lies, and homophobia, that leads to a powerful and inevitable tragic conclusion."

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Cherry Creek North: Have You Ever Been Someplace That Just Feels Right?

One hundred and forty years ago, Cherry Creek North was part of a small town called Harman. Since then, Cherry Creek North has emerged as a staple in the fabric of Denver and Colorado, blossoming into a very special mixed-use district.

What sets it apart? Perhaps it’s the walkability of the area, or lodging that provides all the comforts of home. Maybe it’s the laughter spilling out of a gallery during a nightly wine tasting, or alfresco dining on a patio laced with flowers. When you’re in Cherry Creek North, you can sit back and exhale. Life feels good here. 

Stonewall Fitness: Sports for Rights


By Dirk Smith
There is a lot of discussion surrounding the role of activism and politics within the realm of sports. This is a discussion that has been happening for well over a hundred years and no doubt will continue well past our lifetime. With large scale events like The Olympic Games bringing together people for all over the world to compete in sport, oftentimes people who don’t always get along and despite everybody’s best effort. There is bound to tension, discussions, arguments, boycotts and other conflicts. Human rights aren’t always political, but yet they are and often dominate political discussions on all levels. Everything from the NCAA hosting events in states that have adopted Anti-Trans legislation, NFL players kneeling to the national anthem to protest racial injustice, football (soccer) clubs with fans often chanting prejudicial things.

​The Olympic Games themselves are no stranger to these debates, everything from where the games are hosted, who should be allowed to compete, role of doping and many other discussions. Needless to say there is a lot to unpack to fully understand that sports and politics will often intersect, especially when it comes to human rights.

However, let’s look at it from a different angle. How has sport helped advance human rights? Specifically we’ll talk about the Gay Games and the role that the largest, non-Olympic, quadrennial, multi-sport event, has played toward helping to empower and advance LGBTQ+ rughts and causes since it’s inception.

The first Gay Games was held in 1982 in San Francisco, a very active city for LGBTQ+ activism and was the brainchild of Dr. Tom Waddell. Taking inspiration from his own experience as a decathlete at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City as well as the formation of early LGBTQ+ sports clubs (namely bowling) in the 1970s. Waddell wanted to bring the same feelings he experienced as an Olympian to the LGBTQ+ community while creating a place and event where LGBTQ+ people could participate and compete openly and without worry for homophobia and transphobia that were so prevalent in sport. Initially called the “Gay Olympic Games” the name was shortened simply to “Gay Games” after the International Olympic Committee threatened Waddell with a lawsuit regarding use of the word “Olympic” despite little action on the IOC against the use of the word in other (non-lgbtq+) events. Despite this set back, the first Gay Games was a success and each subsequent event continued to grow in 1986 and 1990. Inspiring and empowering LGBTQ+ people to come together outside of bars and clubs to take part.

The 1994 Gay Games were a turning point for the movement, scheduled to be held in New York City on the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Federation of the Gay Games worked with the IOC to persuade the United States Federal Government to temporarily lift their ban on individuals who were HIV positive from entering the country. They succeeded in opening the door for athletes with HIV/AIDS to participate at both the 1994 Gay Games and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, helping to break many of the stigmas about HIV/AIDs that still persisted.

In addition, Greg Louganis officially “came out” as an openly gay and HIV+ athlete at the opening ceremonies as well as took an active role in the diving competition. While Louganis was retired from the sport, his subsequent coming out led to him being blacklisted by the diving community. Although he was embraced as a role model and inspiration for up and coming LGBTQ+ athletes around the world. The 1994 Gay Games set the record for the largest number of registered participants with over 15,000. Exceeding the size of both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

In 2003 The IOC convened to establish and adopt it’s first ever set of transgender inclusive policies that ended the unethical practice of sex verification testing and opened the door for transgender athletes to participate openly at the 2004 Olympic Games. Their initial policy was based on that of the Federation of Gay Games policies which have encouraged transgender participation since it’s inception. These policies were recently updated in 2016.

In addition, with the Gay Games being hosted in cities and countries of various political backgrounds it has helped influence the local communities (LGBTQ+ and not) in “changing hearts and minds” towards LGBTQ+ people as the hosts of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland would say.

As the movement continues to move forward, facing its own growing pains on the way. It has been actively showing the word that LGBTQ+ people don’t always fit the mode. Through participation in sport it has led the way in breaking the stigmas and stereotypes of LGBTQ+ people, especially athletes.

Are you a goal-oriented individual looking for some extra guidance in your training? If you have an event coming up or are looking for new ideas to get fit. Check out Online Coaching! Dirk trains people all over the world and can get you ready for the next Gay Games, Championship, or whatever is in your future! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Denver Limo, Inc.: The Hottest Limos In Colorado Now at the Lowest Prices of the Year!

Denver Limo, Inc. is the leader in ground transportation in Denver, Colorado. Providing limousine service in Colorado for over 17 years, Denver Limo, Inc. has the hottest limousines, SUV limos, and Party Buses in the state - and they're currently available at the lowest prices of the year! 

OUT on DVD/VOD: Sebastian

Written, directed and starring James Fanizza, Sebastian features Katya (also known as Brian McCook) from Rupaul's Drag Race and the hit Vice series The Trixie and Katya Show.

In this urban gay love story, sexy Argentinian hunk Sebastian (Alex House) arrives in Toronto on a one week visit and meets his cousin's boyfriend, Alex (writer-director, James Fanizza). Instant attraction leads Alex to question his rocky relationship with his boyfriend. As he and Sebastian decide to explore their forbidden passion, they connect deep in emotion. Alex must confront his conflicted feelings for his boyfriend and Sebastian, as well as some surprising, long buried secrets from his past.

Sebastian is a uniquely modern story - exploring the search for love in an age of instant gratification, online hookups, and the yearning for connection in an age of convenience and superficiality. It paints a nuanced portrait of 20-something queerness; that perpetual feeling of having what you want at the tip of your fingers, but not being sure if you really want to grab it.

Equality Federation: We Must Stop Trump's Anti-LGBTQ Judicial Nominee

By Rebecca Isaacs, Equality Federation


This is urgent. Trump’s extremist, anti-LGBTQ nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Stuart Kyle Duncan, could be confirmed as soon as Wednesday.

Please use this quick form to tell your Senator to vote NO on his confirmation!

Duncan has built his career on undermining fairness and equality. Time and time again he defended corporations and lawmakers who wanted to discriminate. His record is appalling:
 

• defended Louisiana against a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage;
 

• defended the state against a challenge to its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions;
 

• defended the state of Alabama against a challenge from a lesbian mother whose parental rights were stripped away by the state;

• represented the state of Louisiana when it refused to issue a birth certificate to a same-sex couple after they adopted a child; 9 and
 

• organized an amicus brief filed by 15 states opposing the freedom to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark marriage equality case.

Duncan also has an anti-transgender record. He chose to represent North Carolina legislators Phil Berger and Tim Moore (the architects of the House Bill 2 which restricted transgender people’s ability to access public restrooms) in a lawsuit against the Department of Justice.

Tell your Senator to vote NO on Duncan!

P.S. For a complete picture of his atrocious record please read the letter we submitted to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary with Lambda Legal in collaboration with 39 equality organizations.

Print all In new window LGBT Groups Support Child's Wrongful Death Claim for Parent Tasered by Police

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), ACLU Foundation of Southern California, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Los Angeles LGBT Center, and legal scholars filed an amicus brief this week in California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in support of the minor plaintiff in A.G. v. County of Los Angeles.

The brief argues that the Los Angeles Superior Court ruling denying A.G.’s wrongful death claim violates both the U.S. and California Constitutions by discriminating against children with legal parents who are not biological or adoptive parents. Although the parents in this case were a different-sex couple, the trial court’s ruling would have far-reaching negative effects on children with same-sex parents. It would also be devastating for children conceived using assisted reproduction.

“The Superior Court’s decision is not only unconstitutional but could set a devastating precedent for the children of same-sex parents,” said NCLR Family Law Director Catherine Sakimura. “The court’s role here, in the face of unspeakable tragedy, is to follow the law and ensure this man’s surviving children are cared for—not to diminish and unravel family ties. The lower court decision has no basis in the law. We must do better.”

A.G.’s complaint states that on January 6, 2015, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department entered A.G.’s father’s home and used a Taser on his father, who was mentally ill, because he would not stop singing in his bathroom. A.G.’s father died as a result. The California Superior Court improperly dismissed A.G.’s wrongful death claim solely because A.G.’s father was not his biological or adoptive father, even though he was A.G.’s presumed legal father under California law.

“We’re urging the Court of Appeal to correct the lower court’s error and make clear that California law recognizes the rights of people who take on the role and fulfill the responsibilities of parents, like A.G.’s father,” said Amanda Goad, LGBTQ Rights Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Southern California.

Pickett had cared for A.G. as his son since infancy, treating A.G. and his biological children equally. Pickett described A.G. to family and to others as his son, having stated, “[w]e’re going to treat [A.G.] as though he is my biological son. I’m taking the role as his father.”

"This case has important repercussions for the LGBT community and the Center proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with NCLR and the ACLU as we fight to ensure that children are not considered second class citizens in their own homes,” said Center Director of Policy & Community Building Dave Garcia.

Wrongful death claims compensate surviving family members who have lost the care of the deceased. Denying legal children their ability to bring wrongful death actions leaves children like A.G. without financial security and unjustly creates a subset, or two classes of legal children.

The Gay Vegans: Calling All Activists

By Dan Hanley

I know there is a lot going on in the world. I’ll say that right up front.

Today I can post a tweet attacking the government, Congress, the Nunes memo and a whole host of things I disagree with. I can then logoff and enjoy family time with my husband. Later I can meet with friends and neighbors who are part of The Resistance and walk home without fear. This could change in our country, and for many it already has. Indeed, activists are in jail in the US right now. Unlike their fellow activists in Iran, they do not face immediate execution.

Meanwhile, activists just like me, who have taken very similar actions in speaking out against their government, are sitting bloodied and beaten in jail cells in Iran. They may have protested in street protests or taken their hijab off in protest of the mandatory wearing of it. They may be a Kurd who is fighting for rights for the Kurds. Regardless, they are enemies of the state and are dealt with in a brutal fashion.



All of these activists I have learned about from social media threads on Twitter. They include Ramin Hossein Panahi (above right), Atena Daemi (top right), Golrokh Iraee (top left) and Hedayat Abdollahpour (above left). I admit that I know only very little of these four. What I know for sure is that they are in jail and could be executed.

Will you please help me spread the word about these activists? I know they are not alone, and if we as a world-wide activist community spread the word and speak out, these four and others may have a chance to live.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Miners Alley Playhouse Adds Performance of “Fun Home" to Benefit Denver Actors Fund

When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.

Based on Alison Bechdel's best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home’s beautiful and compelling score made history when Tesori and Kron became the first female writing team to win the Tony Award for Best Original Score. It is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian lead character and covers themes of realization, forgiveness and empowerment, sexuality and mental health. Colorado’s Beth Malone was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in this groundbreaking musical in the role of Alison Bechdel.


Performance just added for Monday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. to benefit Denver Actors Fund - all tickets $15.

Do You Want To Reach Denver's Gay Community? Advertise With Denver's Best Gay Blog!

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Debt Free Guys: 5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score in 2018

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Want to save thousands of dollars? Improving your credit score could save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime that could be used for more important things than high-interest payments.

First, it helps to first know what a credit score is. Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) is the most commonly used credit scoring system. FICO uses a point scale from 300 to 850 to grade your creditworthiness. Your FICO score is a grade that tells lenders how likely you are to pay a loan back in full and on time.

The higher your credit score the better for you. The average credit score in the U.S. is 636 and the median score at 723.

How do you fix your credit score?

1. Pay your bills on time
 

By 35%, the biggest component of a credit score is payment history, that is how good or bad you are with paying your bills. Good payment habits show that you’re a good credit risk, so always pay all your bills on time and in full.

2. Lower your credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization is the amount of revolving debt you have divided by your available credit. Borrowers who use less than 30% of their available credit are less risky. So, get your credit utilization below 30%.

3. Clean your credit report 

Because of identity theft, human error and robots, you might have inaccurate marks on your credit report. Fix these errors and your credit score will improve immediately.

Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 annually to get free copies of your credit reports from all three credit agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). Review each credit score for accuracy and contest errors, including misspelled names, incorrect addresses and false claims.

Proceed with caution. If you have a history of collection attempts, you may open the floodgates with debt collectors contacting you.

It’ll take time to receive your reports and file corrections, but it’s worth it when your credit report is clean and your credit score improves.

4. Don’t apply for more credit
Don’t open a new credit card account. Don’t apply for a loan. Don’t get a new apartment, and don’t do anything else that’ll cause your credit score and history to be checked for six to 12 months.

FICO is notified every time your credit report is pulled and too many pulls adversely affect your credit score. A six to 12-month hiatus will improve your score.

5. Get a secured credit card
Not to be done in tandem with tip four, open a secured credit card account, use it once a month and pay it off in full immediately. Although the fees may be high, this will improve your credit history. When your credit score is creditworthy, close your secured credit card.

Anyone can fix their credit score. The best way to repair a credit score is to prove your creditworthiness. So, pay your bills on time and don’t overextend yourself.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Help Make Once Colorado's 2018 LGBTQ Lobby Day the Best Ever

By Laura "Pinky" Reinsch, Political Director, One Colorado


Last year was the most successful LGBTQ Lobby Day in One Colorado's history – over 350 people attended to speak with their representatives, and we had representation from 34 out of 35 State Senate districts! Together, we worked to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans, their families, and allies from all across the state to discuss the issues impacting LGBTQ Coloradans with lawmakers at the State Capitol.

Can you help make sure this year's LGBTQ Lobby Day is our best ever? Chipping in $15, $25, or $40 will help cover the travel costs of Lobby Day participants from every corner of Colorado who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend!

Thank you for standing with us in our efforts to make Colorado a more fair and just state for all Coloradans – especially LGBTQ Coloradans and their families.

Be part of this, and help us make sure everyone who wants to can attend our 2018 LGBTQ Lobby Day on February 26th by giving $15, $25, or $40 today.